Happy New Year! The genuine greeting this time of year brings hope in to the hearts of people around the world. Everyone hopes that 2019 will be better than 2018. Looking forward lets go the pain and hurt of the past, puts everyone on a clean slate and trusts that God will make “it” happen this year.
But what if God doesn’t make “it” happen? What if God whom we call Almighty and Everlasting has other plans for us in 2019? When we move from 2019 to 2020, will we be in the same place as this New Year, desperate to change the calendar?
I do not intend to depress you. I just want to bring some reality into your “Happy New Year” wish. You see, we have free will with God. We can choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ following God’s plan or we can choose to let God make “it” happen for us. Expecting God to fill our year with happiness is a fool’s theology. God doesn’t make our life happy. We are happy because we have life with God.
I like to tell the story about twins who were opposites in their life outlooks. One was happy no matter what. The other always found something to complain about. Their parents decided to test this behavior to the extreme one birthday. To the complainer they gave them a room full of presents, more than the entire family gets on Christmas. To the joyful child they gave a barn full of manure. When they opened the room of presents the twin said, “But I wanted green and yellow Barbie mansion.” Then they went to the barn and heard singing. “Why are you singing?” the parents asked. The happy twin shoveling the stinky muck kept on digging as she answered, “With all this manure there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”
We don’t have to admit to these extremes or point fingers to see the point. What makes life happy and enjoyable is hope. We cannot hope in the past. We can only hope in the future. We can remember and treasure the past. But looking to the future is hope, hope for good and not evil. So we say “Happy New Year!”
Disciples will hope in God’s plan and pray for courage to accept that plan no matter what. We move into the unknown future knowing God is good all the time. Change may occur, but we are not fearful. Expectations may never happen, but we are not disappointed. We could be pressed in on every side this year, but we will not be crushed. Therefore we can boldly say to each other: “Your New Year will be happy!”
My daughters and I believe in and trust in this good news that God is with us all the time. As we change our calendars and our life to align with God’s 2019 plans, we are happy. Happy New Year to all!